HSBC has restructured its asset management business globally into two new entities, HSBC Investments and HSBC Halbis Partners, to replace HSBC Asset Management.

"We're introducing a boutique culture," says Au King-lun, head of institutional and private client business in Hong Kong, of Halbis (which stands for HSBC Alpha Business Partners). "It's a separate company designed only to produce performance in active management for equities, bonds and single-manager hedge fund strategies."

Alain Dromer, HSBC group investment business CEO in London, says, "For customers seeking pure performance or alpha, we believe that large all-encompassing firms are not best placed to provide this."

Halbis will complement the existing Sinopia, a quantitative and structured product specialist company, and HSBC Specialist Investments, a property and infrastructure investment company.

"This isn't just a reshuffle, but a new business philosophy," says Au. "We've created this to attract the best people who want to work in a boutique environment."

Blair Pickerell will act as regional CEO for HSBC Investments, which manages $140 billion in retail mutual funds and lifestyle products, portfolios for private clients and institutions, institutional money market funds and multi-manager business.

Halbis will be run in Asia by Ayaz Ebrahim, who will also continue his role as CIO at HSBC Investments. It will compete in areas such as global fixed income, European equities, Asian and global emerging markets equities and alternative strategies. Globally, about 200 investment professionals from HSBC Asset Management and HSBC Alternative Investments in the UK will be part of HSBC Halbis Partners, managing $65 billion of assets.

Au says the reorganization will also give HSBC Investments a distribution arm as well as letting it act as a manufacturer. "We've always promoted our own products but we can now consider a client's best investment solutions and if necessary, outsource to third parties."